After a super performance saw him end Gilbert Burns’ nearly year-long pursuit of his welterweight title, Kamaru Usman took the unusual step as champion of calling out his next opponent after the fight.
He made the case for ‘Gamebred’ Jorge Masvidal to get the next shot, claiming that when they met at UFC 251 on six-days’ notice it meant he didn’t get the chance to finish him.
Despite the six-days’ notice on both ends, Masvidal was the one who received most praise for going five rounds because he was essentially ‘coming off the couch’ and cut over 20lbs that time to make weight for the fight. When he went the full 25 minutes with Usman, both fighters said they’d run it back and said they had respect for one another inside the cage.
But that respect seems to have gone out of the window in the recent months, with the two exchanging verbal insults over social media.
This has led to Usman calling for a rematch as his next fight, with each parties management claiming they would all be willing to be the coaches in the upcoming ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ series. But does anyone actually want to see this fight happen?
What’s the point in it? The first fight was so decisive despite the short notice that there really isn’t much need for it. While Masvidal with a full camp behind him is obviously a more fearsome prospect, Usman with a full camp designated to shutting him down is likely to make it even more one-sided.
He took Masvidal’s best shot and ended the fight with a broken nose, although he claims he had the injury already and was able to dominate the clinch and take Masvidal down five times throughout the fight.
Usman has got even better on the feet since, as we saw with his win over Burns and he’s shown his chin in the past in the fight with Colby Covington.
There’s no doubting that Masvidal is a fantastic fighter with the ability of knocking guys out with a single punch, kick or knee. He’s done it before and he’ll no doubt do it again. But the chances of him landing that blow on Usman with their styles is low, especially if the champion is coming off a full camp.
The only benefit to this fight is that it’s a big pay day for ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’, which could be the main reason behind his push for it. But for the good of the division as a whole, he should skip it.
A rematch with Covington would be much more intriguing, considering how competitive their first fight was and the fact Usman broke Covington’s jaw certainly played a part in the knockout in the fifth round. Even a rematch with Leon Edwards would be intriguing, should the Brit beat Belal Muhammad on March 13th. We’d be several years down the line from their first fight and both have improved tremendously since, plus Edwards would be on a nine-fight win streak and would’ve earned it.
While a Masvidal fight is always a fun watch with a great build-up, this is probably one we just don’t need to see right now or any time in the very near future – or at least not until Masvidal makes it undeniable with a win or two under his belt again.